The U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q1 2012, a report to be released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in June, finds that growth in solar photovoltaics (PV) markets in the United States is maintaining its breakneck pace from 2011. Led by strong growth in the commercial market segment, the United States installed a record of 506 megawatts (MW) over the first three months of this year, more than any other first quarter on record.
This quarter’s activity brings the total amount of solar PV across America to 4,427 MW. In addition, concentrating solar power (CSP) facilities are providing 516 MW of electric power to the U.S. Together, solar electric capacity reached 4,943 MW in the United States, enough to power 775,000 households.
“The U.S. solar industry continues to lead the U.S. out of difficult economic times,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “Installations have grown by 85 percent in the last year. This growth is coming from consumers who are turning to solar to reduce their energy costs. In states across the country, Americans are waking up to the realization that putting solar on your home or business is a better investment than the stock market.”
Overall, 2012 is shaping up to be another banner year for the U.S. solar market. Tomorrow’s U.S. Solar Market Insight report forecasts total 2012 annual solar PV installations to exceed 3,200 megawatts, 75 percent greater than last year’s total and 15 percent higher than previous annual forecasts for 2012. The increase in forecasted installations for 2012 is due to accelerated timelines for large-scale utility projects, greater-than-expected first quarter growth in the New Jersey commercial market, the number of safe-harbored projects that will still qualify for the U.S. government’s expired 1603 Treasury Program, and overall positive outlooks for the California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii markets.
“We remain bullish in 2012 on all market segments in the U.S. and most of the 23 states we cover in this report,” said Shayle Kann, vice president at GTM Research. “However, 2013 is an open question. The impacts of an import tariff on solar cells imported from China, as well as the expiration of the 1603 Treasury Program, will be felt most next year. This could coincide with a trough of demand in New Jersey and California’s adjustment period into a post-California Solar Initiative (CSI) world to create a temporary slowing of growth. However, we expect the U.S. market to regain momentum thereafter and continue along its path to become a global PV market leader by 2015.”
For more information, visit www.seia.org.